Khalid Nibi Shrine

Islamic Shrine in Turkmensahra

Dramatically perched above a sea of badlands sit three small mausoleums. The most important commemorates a certain Khalid Nibi; although he was apparently a 5th-century Nestorian Christian, the site now attracts Muslim pilgrims. But the star attraction is a grassy knoll dotted with remarkable pagan grave-markers. Ancient but of unknown age, these include 2m-long spindly phalluses for men and butterfly-shaped stones for women. They're around ten minutes' walk from the central shrine via a fairly obvious footpath leading down.

From tiny Tamar (on the Kalaleh–Maraveh Tappeh road), Khalid Nibi is 43km north; the last 10km is an unsurfaced and rather bumpy track. The final kilometre is so steep that it might defeat standard taxis – be prepared for some walking if necessary. Chartered taxis from Tamar charge IR500,000 return (starting from Gonbad or Minudasht it'll be closer to IR800,000).

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